The Esoteric Meaning Behind The Movie ‘Ghost In The Shell’

I recently watched the Hollywood adaptation of Ghost in the Shell,  and it was absolutely brilliant. One of the best films I have ever personally seen, and possibly the most relevant movie of our generation; Not just for its literal implications regarding our technologically driven future, but more so because it tackles one of the greatest and most elusive mysteries of all — who are we as a human species and what is our purpose in this inexplicable journey we call life?

Based upon the original 1995 anime masterpieceGhost in the Shell contains both literal and allegorical themes that can profoundly influence — or even come to change — one’s entire outlook on life and the world forever.

Although the literal representation of the movie is certainly worth contemplating, since it is not far off from the world of tomorrow, I will be focusing primarily on the esoteric meaning behind the film.

The most prolific theme throughout the story line, is the nature of “reality,” our purpose for being here, and the concept of Human Identity. These are things that most of us in the world struggle with; and something I personally have dedicated years and years of obsessive research to, and would like to humbly offer my personal interpretation as a result; in hopes that it may be both enlightening and empowering for my readers.

I can tell you that my personally becoming aware of what I will be sharing with you in this write up today, literally saved my life. But more than just save it, it elicited the power of purpose within me — and this power only continues to grow stronger and stronger with each passing day.

In the opening scene, the lead character (introduced only as Mira) is being “born” into our world.

When her eyes finally open, she is in a place that resembles a hospital. She is scared, confused, crying, and has no idea what’s going on — much like a baby being thrust into this strange mysterious place that we unquestioningly call “reality”.

Like a new born infant, the first person that welcomes her into the world is a doctor, who reassures her that everything is fine, and explains to her what happened before she came into existence (that she was a victim of a terrorist attack) which comes to define the future path that she takes in life.

Artist Credit: Unknown

This resembles the human story, we come into this world and get told what to believe by the authorities about the past and ancient history, but the Truth is we don’t really know, we simply choose to believe in what the authorities in our lives tell us to believe — just as they did the same thing with the authorities that shaped their lives before them — And then based upon these beliefs, we tend to choose our future path.

You will also notice that that the doctor mentions Soul, Mind, and Ghost almost interchangeably. This is meant to remind us that we are not just a body with a form of consciousness, but we are a form of consciousness with a body. What is deep inside is who we truly are, and even if modern science cannot fully explain what this presence actually is, or the nature and complexity of our consciousness, there is something deeper there, which in this context we can refer to as our Ghost.

The doctor then enters another room, where a mysterious man named Cutter has been observing Mira through one way glass the entire time.

It quickly becomes apparent that the young lady is actually an experiment that he wants to use for his own selfish purposes.

The doctor, on the other hand, still views Mira as being a human being and believes she should be treated as one, but the man makes it very clear that he views her only as a commodity (a weapon) to be exploited, nothing more.

Artist credit: Anthony Clarkson

This is a simple, but brilliant allegory about the world we live in. Mira represents the common person. She has just been born and without even knowing about it there is already a man (that represents the highest levels of the ruling class) who views her as being a lower life form than himself, and without her even being vaguely aware of it, he turns her into “a machine” that ultimately comes to serve his “company” named Hanka Robotics (representative of the system).

Whatever job the authorities need done, Mira now follows those orders. And unlike the first scene of the movie where she is acting very human, and experiencing intense human emotions such as fear, confusion, and the like, she has now become much more desensitized and robotic.

Image Credit: David Dees

Again, the lead character here represents the journey of the common person. When we are young children we are full of life, optimism, imagination, curiosity and human emotion, but as we get older this system begins to methodically replace these qualities with blind reactive conformity to authority, the willingness to sacrifice our personal dreams in service to the system, and an overall robotic like state of being.

Throughout the film, Mira actually struggles with her identity and purpose in life. She makes it clear that she doesn’t feel like she fits in, even though it seems like everyone else does. She begins to identify solely with her job, as if it is the only reason she was “built” — as if she has no other purpose. But the head of her division, Chief Daisuke Aramaki (who genuinely seems to care about her), is quick to remind her that she is not just a weapon to be used, she also has a Ghost suggesting she has a greater purpose.

 

This happens to many of us in our world; We begin to associate our identity with our jobs, our clothes, our looks, our cars, our jewelry, our bank accounts, our skin colors, religions, and flags — which all ultimately limit our limitless being — and sadly we do not have an identity or purpose beyond these things, because we have never spent time in solitude searching for answers inside ourselves.

Throughout the film Mira has flashbacks, and her Ghost (Soul) tries to communicate with her to inform her who she really is, but instead of listening she goes to the doctor to suppress these memories and “glitches,” as she has been led to believe that they are problematic and unnatural.

 

This happens to the overwhelming majority of us in this world; our “Ghost” communicates to us primarily through feelings and emotions, which when ignored manifest as depression, anxiety, and other so called diseases.

Instead of listening to these important feelings, however — and working hard to find solutions — we take the easy route and self medicate with legal and illegal drugs — or other easily accessed distractions; such as television, social media, pornography, and partying, amongst other things.

Despite the medication, Mira still feels like there is a lot of chatter and unrest in her mind. To help her deal with this stress, she enjoys swimming in isolation, because she says it helps her to silence the external world.

Our environment can influence us in very toxic ways, so we need to discover who we are beyond its imposition and influence. This can be a walk in Nature, the act of meditation, jogging, or anything that helps us to silence the noise of the outside world, and reconnect with the deeper part of ourselves — our proverbial Ghost.

Artist Credit: Tom Fonder

Another brilliant addition to the film, is when Mira visits her colleague’s dog, Gabriel, who in the Abrahamic religions represents God’s messenger.

Her encounter with the hound, clearly elicits her lost Humanity. Dogs, and other animals, have a remarkable ability to do this for us; they remind us how to feel again, Love again, and be compassionate caring human beings again. We can also see this when she is around her friend Batou, indicating the importance of surrounding yourself with good people in your life.

Throughout the film, Mira is in pursuit of an elusive hacker known as Kuze (an adaptation of the brilliant anime Puppet Master character), who she has been led to believe is evil and vows to find and kill.

But the closer she gets to Kuze, the more vivid her memories become, until eventually the two meet face to face and Kuze tells her the Truth; that he was an experiment and so was she, but because his mind rejected the programming they tried to kill him and destroy him.

Kuze represents those among us who have become disillusioned with society. The system was unable to program (brainwash) him, and thus he is no longer under its control, and can now think freely for himself. This disenchantment with the authorities has made him very angry however, and he begins to fight back, which is why he is now being pursued by governments all around the world.

During their emotional encounter, Kuze tells Mira that the medication she has been given by the doctor is actually suppressing her memories, and then he reminds her that regardless of them owning her as a machine, she still has a Ghost which they cannot control. And if she can remember the importance of her Ghost (Soul), she might be able to “remember it all.” 

Kuze is sharing the Truth with Mira in this scene, which marks the beginning of her journey towards disillusionment. The key, he tells her — to remember it all — lies in her Ghost. I will circle back to how incredibly profound this quote is towards the end of this blog.

Mira then goes to confront the doctor that helped create her, and finds out that her life has been rooted in lies. Her family was never murdered by terrorists and her identity was actually stolen by the company (system). They even implanted false memories in her mind to manipulate her into becoming a tool for them.

This, of course, is what happens when one begins to awaken to the lies that dominate and control our society. We learn that our perceptions have been “implanted” in our minds by the system to manipulate us into serving and protecting it.

Mira now becomes a target and they eventually apprehend her at the orders of Cutter — the man that has been controlling Mira’s life in the background ever since she was “born.”

She is slated to be killed by the doctor, but then something unexpected happens — the doctor gives Mira access to her past and ends up sacrificing her life in the process when Cutter murders her for not following his orders.

This is important for anyone engaged in activism and creating positive change to understand; just because someone works for the system, does not always make them our literal enemy. There are allies to be found everywhere, even within governments, corporations, banks, mainstream media outlets, intelligence agencies, and else where. Many people who work for the system do so simply to make a living and take care of their families, or were once under its hypnotic spell, and have since grown disillusioned and have now come to secretly support the struggle for a better world.

Mira then discovers that her real name is Motoko, she was actually an activist that wrote about the dangers of technology taking over society, and the system that she came to tragically work for, actually kidnapped her as a child and stole her freedom and indoctrinated her.

 

Towards the end of the film there is a great struggle between Motoko (Mira), Kuze, and her combat unit on the one side (representing Humanity), and Hanka Robotics — as controlled by Cutter (representing the system) — on the other.

As the struggle winds down, and Humanity eventually triumphs over the system, Cutter is faced with certain death. But before he is killed, Mira/Motoko is asked if she has any final words for him, to which she replies, “Tell him this is justice, it’s what I was built for.”

Mira/Motoko seems to now be aware of why she was created — to serve justice.

The film then concludes with an ending that gives me chills every time because of the depth from which I am fortunate enough to interpret it from.

Mira/Motoko (representing the human journey to self knowledge) has now become fully aware of who she is — her true identity — and why she has been created, which is a reason and purpose far greater than she had ever formerly imagined.

You can watch the epic ending below, followed by a scientific study and some further analysis from myself that will demonstrate how truly profound this film really is…

The Science Behind Ghost in the Shell

In what can only be described as some of the most remarkable studies in modern history — if not of all time — Paul Bloom, Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Yale University (and the 2017 recipient of the Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize) along with his team of researchers, conducted a series of experiments on infants (as young as just 3 months old) that demonstrate something truly mind blowing and paradigm shifting — we human beings are actually born with a sense of compassion, justice, empathy, morality, and what is often defined as Humanity.

In an article published in Scientific American, Bloom summarized the studies most important findings regarding the babies’ inborn principles as follows;

An understanding that helping is morally good, and that harming, hindering, or otherwise thwarting the goals of another person is morally bad. A rudimentary sense of justice—an understanding that good guys should be rewarded and bad guys should be punished. An initial sense of fairness—in particular, that there should be an equal division of resources. And alongside these principles are moral emotions, including empathy, compassion, guilt, shame, and righteous anger.

The implications of this are profound for obvious reasons. Many people today have no sense of identity, or purpose, much like Mira in the beginning of the film Ghost in the Shell. We tend to believe our existence is mediocre or even outright pointless at times, and we spend much of our earthly journey working for the system as if it were our only purpose in life. In some cases, people even believe that humankind — by nature — are evil and corrupt.

But this study paints a very different picture, and demonstrates that we actually have great purpose in life. We possess an inborn sense of right and wrong, and thus the source of our morality, our sense of justice, and our Humanity, does not come from society, religion, science, or school — it actually comes from deep within us.

So this study offers us hope, but more than just inspiring hope, it also raises some serious questions that we need to figure out…

How can we live in a world dominated by exploitation, inequality, corruption, and injustice, when this is evidently not part of our nature? Even without this incredible study, this is easily observed. The overwhelming majority of us do not want to live in a society that is dominated by exploitation, injustice, or corruption, yet we do. Even biologically, we have been programmed to respond very well to happiness, kindness, peace, and Love. So much so, that we seek them out, and if we cannot find them, we literally do our best to create an environment that welcomes them.

On the contrary, we do not respond well to cruelty, chronic stress, persistent depression, or the feeling of hate and injustice. In fact, living with these impostors in our lives for long enough can even lead us to becoming ill, and in extreme cases even premature death.

In other words, we have been programmed to be the literal embodiment of justice, integrity, kindness, and what we call Humanity. And when you begin to truly consider this, you realize it’s actually quite obvious to tell, even without these amazing studies.

First, because you can observe this within yourself. You know that you value justice, peace, integrity, kindness, and Humanity, and you dislike (if not hate) injustice, exploitation, deception, and cruelty. The other thing, is those closest to you feel the same way. Then you can also see this in movies, children’s films, books, and the recurring theme of good triumphing over evil that one could safely presume 99% of the entire human population abide by.

In fact, throughout known history, different religions, ancient traditions, cultures, and people who allegedly never had contact with each other, overwhelmingly shared a common theme of morality known as the Golden Rule, which is to simply treat other people as you would like to be treated.

Yet throughout history there has been wars, genocides, and the proliferation of racism, division, hatred, exploitation and injustice, why? 

This is where it’s important to understand a tricky part of our Nature that Professor Bloom calls “righteous anger,” which means we get very angry in the face of what we perceive to be injustice and evil.

The New York Times summarizes one such example as follows;

Not long ago, a team of researchers watched a 1-year-old boy take justice into his own hands. The boy had just seen a puppet show in which one puppet played with a ball while interacting with two other puppets. The center puppet would slide the ball to the puppet on the right, who would pass it back. And the center puppet would slide the ball to the puppet on the left . . . who would run away with it. Then the two puppets on the ends were brought down from the stage and set before the toddler. Each was placed next to a pile of treats. At this point, the toddler was asked to take a treat away from one puppet. Like most children in this situation, the boy took it from the pile of the “naughty” one. But this punishment wasn’t enough — he then leaned over and smacked the puppet in the head.

The problem here, of course, is like the character Mira from Ghost in the Shell, if we do not have knowledge — and have been brainwashed by the system — our righteous anger can easily be used against us for nefarious purposes and we can be used as a “weapon” by evil people, to do evil things, just as she was used to hunt Kuze who was actually her ally and friend.

Artist Credit: Lubomir Arsov 

This has been seen throughout history, and in different parts of the world. The ruling class make up lies that appear to the common people as a pursuit of justice against evil, but in reality they have a very selfish agenda, which they can only implement through the manipulation of our righteous anger.

When the common people naively believe them, we end up supporting practices like slavery, colonialism, imperialism, war, and the like — All of which have been preceded by massive propaganda campaigns and lies — because if we are deluded into believing we are fighting against evil, we will become ruthless in our dealing with it, because whether we like it or not, we have been programmed to deal with what we perceive as evil in this way.

An excellent verifiable example of their manipulative methodology can be found in what is officially recognized as Operation Northwoods, from back in 1962.

The CIA and Joint Chiefs of Staff (highest ranking members of each branch of the military) proposed to murder innocent civilians to manipulate society’s righteous anger into supporting an invasion of Cuba. Fortunately this proposal was dismissed by then president John F Kennedy before he was assassinated, but the willingness of influential members of government, intelligence, and military to want to do this should be disturbing to us all.

The FBI have also been caught on numerous occasions creating fake terror plots to manipulate our fear and righteous anger into supporting whatever solution the government proposes. This behavior, is underhanded and unacceptable, and demonstrates we are ruled by a manipulative system.

This is just the tip of the iceberg though, you can learn much more about how governments around the world have been doing this for decades in an essay I wrote HERE, or a video I made HERE.

So How Can We Change This?

The only solution to this massive problem, which perpetuates the very conditions we have been programmed to avoid and fight against, is to become knowledgeable and aware of how this system works, just as Mira/Motoko did in Ghost in the Shell.

Our ruthless approach in dealing with evil is not always a bad thing in my opinion, when we know for sure that we are fighting against what could justifiably be called evil. I believe that rapists, pedophiles, child and animal abusers, and those who murder and enslave the innocent should be dealt with harshly, but without knowledge we can easily become a tool for the evil we are actually trying to fight against.

There is also the trouble of cultural and religious indoctrination, which can sometimes teach people to define others as being evil or even as an enemy, based on very silly prejudices that are rooted in narrow irrational ways of thinking. The Golden Rule, of treating others as we would like to be treated though, transcends time and is generally appreciated and valued by all people across the world. Therefore, we should live and let live, but those who deliberately exploit, or harm others should be dealt with assertively.

With proper education this can easily be attained since it is largely inborn. I wrote a blog on this HERE which goes into a bit more detail on this particular subject.

So we need knowledge before we jump to any conclusions, and this becomes very difficult when we live in a world that is dominated by propaganda and ignorance.  To compensate for this maze trap, we need to self educate and then educate others. Expecting this system to help us with this process, is like expecting a tick to openly reveal itself as a parasite feeding on our blood — It cannot feed on us without our ignorance of its existence, because if discovered we will obviously get rid of it — in all likelihood kill it.

Thus, we need to become aware that there really are powerful individuals (and families) who are deliberately manipulating our perception of reality, and expending massive amounts of time, energy and research into indoctrinating us, suppressing our connection with out proverbial Ghost, and creating chaos, division, and struggle on this planet, in order to maintain their control, and exploitation over it.

Unless we first become aware of what’s happening here, nothing will ever change. And therefore, awareness is the key to creating positive change.

To learn about what’s going on with much more clarity, so that you can better understand it and then awaken other people as well, please watch this public presentation I gave on the matter HERE.

 

“Your Ghost is Yours — Remember That — And Maybe You Can Remember it All.”
Kuze speaking to Mira

Whether it be the creationist theory, the big bang theory, or the countless other theories that exist regarding our ancient origins, we humans don’t actually know about our true purpose in this life and why we are even here. But if there is one place that could potentially give us verifiable answers to these ancient unresolved questions, that place is deep within us — within our proverbial Ghosts.

 

The studies I have shared with you above, clearly show that a sense of right and wrong originates from within us; and we gravitate strongly towards justice, and are fierce opponents of what we perceive to be injustice and unethical behavior as a result.

These are feelings that we experience within ourselves daily, where we dislike — or even hate — injustice, exploitation, deception, and, for lack of a better word, evil. But we value peace, justice, honesty, goodness, and empowerment.

Culturally, our favorite movies, stories and heroes all reflect this theme as well; where justice is triumphing over injustice, and good over evil. Biologically, we thrive when we are surrounded by friends, peace, happiness, empowerment, Love,  and what we perceive to be a just and fair world. And, on the other hand, we begin to go into physical decline when we are surrounded by enemies, war, hatred, stress, fear, and what we perceive to be an unjust and unfair world. Similarly, our neurological responses operate this same way too; where we thrive when living in an environment that is dominated by peace, justice, happiness, and the like, but begin to go into mental decline when we live in an environment dominated by their opposites.

Furthermore, we tend to become aggressive and even violent in the face of what we perceive to be evil, which demonstrates a warrior like nature designed to get rid of injustice and corruption, whilst protecting the vulnerable and innocent, and upholding a moral code of ethics that is rooted in our concept of authentic justice.

In other words, if we want to know who we are, why we are here, and what our purpose is as a human species, we need only look deep within ourselves — which is what Mira’s journey in Ghost in the Shell was all about.

This can be done through practicing meditation, yoga, solitude, and any other practice that silences the external world and gives you the opportunity to get in touch with your Ghost.

We All Need Purpose

We all have a strong urge and calling, to contribute something positive to society, and help alleviate suffering. We have a strong propensity for justice, and an equally strong aversion for injustice. It is literally how we were designed, so if we want to begin to find purpose in our lives, we must ask ourselves how we can stand up for justice and alleviate the suffering of others?

This could be volunteering at a local human or animal shelter, writing blogs like this one, tutoring less fortunate children, visiting the elderly and sick, feeding the homeless, making educational videos, and so many other things.

There is no shortage in our world of people who are in need of empowerment, compassion, justice, and Love — and by giving to them — we will also be giving ourselves the great power and gift of purpose, which is needed for the soul, just as much as water and food are needed for the body.

If you would like to learn more about how you can find purpose and meaning in your life, and turn things around for the better, please read a blog I wrote on how I overcame my anxiety, depression, insecurity, suicidal thoughts, and struggles HERE.

*I would like to mention that I will also do a future write up on the original anime film which deserves an independent interpretation and posting.

Movie credits for Ghost in the Shell (and many of the gifs and images used here) are as follows;

Director: Rupert Sanders
Producers: Avi AradSteven PaulMichael Costigan
Screenplay: Jamie MossEhren Kruger, William Wheeler
Distribution: Paramount Pictures
Casting found HERE

 

Written by Gavin Nascimento, Founder of aNewKindOfHuman.com

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Gavin Nascimento
My philosophy in life is very simple; "Do no harm but take no shit". My religion is kindness and integrity; my God is Truth, and my purpose is to help create positive change. I am here to help my readers improve themselves physically, mentally and spiritually, which is why I created aNewKindOfHuman.com
Gavin Nascimento